Books of Interest

Books of Interest…

Year of the Hangman — George Washington’s Campaign Against the Iroquois
By Glenn F. Williams

The American War for Independence had been raging for several years and in no other place was the fighting so bitter and tragic as on the frontier of the colonies of New York and Pennsylvania.  The British and their Iroquois Indian allies were attacking and burning Patriot farms, massacring people in settlements all across the frontier, and destroying valuable crops that helped to feed the Continental Army.  In 1779, General George Washington devised a plan to stop this destruction — a two-pronged attack — and sent an army of 5,000 men, commanded by Generals Sullivan and Clinton, into the wilderness of New York.  They were charged with destroying the towns and crops of all Iroquois Nations who were allied to the British throughout the frontier.  This is the true story of the little-known campaign that sealed the fate of the Six Nations and changed the course of the American Revolution.  Historian Glenn F. Williams recreates the riveting events surrounding the action, including the checkered story of European and Indian alliances, the bitter frontier wars, and the bloody battles of Oriskany and Newtown.

About the author:
Glenn F. Williams is Historical Operations Officer at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C.  He has also served with the National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program and was curator of the U.S.S. Constellation.

Fields of Fire: The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, Then & Now
By Dr. Robert Spiegelman
     Fields of Fire
is a fresh and provocative account of the amazing and understudied Sullivan-Clinton Campaign of 1779, the largest operation launched (until then) against native North Americans. It recasts the Campaign as a watershed event in native and American history. And it reconsiders it locally as well as internationally, and in the light of today’s momentous issues. Fields of Fire is also a one-stop orientation and research source. In words and images, it introduces the major People, Places and Events of New York-Pennsylvania’s neglected epic saga.

Fields of Fire
provides the following:

  • Overview: A thought-provoking overview/ interpretation of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign and its relevance today.
  • Origins & Aftermath: A hard-hitting interview with a passionate Seneca Indian spokesperson and artist on the origins and nature of Sullivan/Clinton. And, a heartfelt essay that recovers Sullivan/Clinton’s forgotten aftermath.
  • Key People: An instant “Who’s Who” of the major participants. Readers can easily consult this to stay oriented at all times.
  • Key Places & Events: Thumbnail sketches of the key places and events with details that immediately immerse readers in the world of Sullivan/Clinton.
  • Historical Road Markers: A list of most Sullivan/Clinton-related historical road markers in New York and Pennsylvania. Adventurous travelers can use this to find many of them.
  • Chronology: A day-by-day, blow-by-blow chronology of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign and the events that led up to it.
  • Photos: Unique photos and images show how the Sullivan/Clinton and Native American pasts still persist, hiding among us in plain sight! Readers are encouraged to take photos that record their own sense of our living history.
  • Educational Tools: Lesson and homework ideas that bring Sullivan/Clinton into the classroom.

War and Redemption
A Civil War Tale by David Cleutz

This is a tale full of history, valor and grief, where fateful coincidences decide the destiny of men. Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, it tells the story of a border girl, Sally, and two young men on opposite sides of the border- Jack Lewis of the 4th Virginia Cavalry, and Luke Kellogg of the 137th New York. During Jeb Stuart’s 1862 raid into Pennsylvania, Lewis kills a civilian boy and takes gold that was meant to be hidden from the Rebels. Luke, in a chance encounter at the battle of Gettysburg, critically wounds Jack after hearing him tell his partner of Sally’s locket –key to the hidden gold. From then on, the destinies of these men, and Sally, are linked—and decided—by the stolen gold. This fictional tale is embedded in the accurate history of the 4th Virginia Cavalry and the 137th New York 

In Their Own Words – Col. David Ireland and the 137th New York
By David Cleutz

This book is a collection of 100+ letters from nearly 50 soldiers from the Southern Tier, written to their hometown newspapers. These letters and related articles tell the story of battles at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Savannah, with fascinating anecdotes of the soldiers lives. The reader comes away with a far deeper understanding of their devotion to their nation, their comrades, and their leaders. Fate placed these men in position to affect the outcome of some of the most critical battles of the Civil War. Their courage and fortitude, discipline and training, with remarkable leadership, were the ingredients for victory in the most difficult of circumstances. Their very significant contribution to the very existence of our Union deserves more recognition. This book is a start in that direction.

About the Author:
A long-time resident of Binghamton, New York, David Cleutz is a native Pennsylvanian. Born in Chambersburg, he grew up in Mercersburg, his family deeply rooted in Gettysburg and Hanover. His great-grandparents were direct observers of the battle of Gettysburg – Liberty Hollinger in Gettysburg, Samuel Forney in Hanover, and Jacob Hartman on the Littlestown road. In addition to his novel, Cleutz has written several articles on New York regiments at Gettysburg and Antietam. Cleutz is a graduate of Mercersburg Academy, and holds advanced degrees from Case Western Reserve and Binghamton Universities. A member of the Binghamton Civil War Roundtable and the Broome County Historical Society, he lectures frequently on the history of the 137th Regiment, New York Volunteers. Cleutz lives with his wife Terry in a circa 1870 home on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Binghamton, New York.

This From George
By Eileen M. Patch

This From George is subtitled “The Civil War Letters of Sergeant George Magusta Englis, 1861 – 1865, Co. K 89th New York Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, known as the Dickinson Guard.”
You could call it one man’s perspective on his American Civil War experience or a biography of a short life. This set of letters written home from assignments with the 89th NY Regiment of Volunteer Infantry reveals the personality and values of George Magusta Englis. With 59 letters as a core, annotations flesh out his life and relate it to family, friends, neighborhood, and war campaigns.
Like peeling layers from an onion, each letter puts the reader closer to the soldier’s soul. Using timely phrases such as “On to Richmond,” and “All for the Union,” he most often closed his letters “This from George.”

About the author:
     Eileen Patch was born in Johnson City, New York. As a child, she visited the family farm in Corbettsville, where her grandmother, Sarah Englis Knapp, grew up. Although she was too young to remember her grandmother, cousins told her about Sarah’s brother George, who went to war in 1861.  Patch inherited the 57 letters the family saved from those George wrote home during the Civil War. This inheritance, and her long-time interest in family history, led to an intense study of her great-uncle’s war experience, including trips to battlefield sites and research at military archives. The study led to this book.

The Business of Captivity in the Chemung Valley: Elmira and Its Civil War Prison
By Michael P. Gray

A long overdue look at Helmira
Reviewer: Eric J. Chandler from Capital of the Confederacy, Virginia.
This was an excellent piece of non-bias work dedicated to telling the truth of the business of prison management in the North during the War of Northern Aggression. Michael P. Gray was very meticulous in detailing facts and figures about the day to day obstacles that confronted the U. S. Government and the management staff in running Elmira Prison. The enormous amount of food, lumber, clothing, staff, paper and every other item that is necessary to operate a prison is well documented along with its many atrocities. It must have taken many months for Michael to review the receipts and records that were kept by the prison staff. Also documented was how Elmira gained financially by being a training area for soldiers and then as a prison town. This book is also a great genealogy reference because of the many individuals quoted and referred to. Every aspect of running a prison is covered from dealing with a budget that was too small (more money was spent on Elmira than any other prison), prison escapes, disease, flood, corrupt or incompetent officials and staff, contractors, transportation and the unforgiving winter weather. As I read this book, I kept picturing what my ancestors my have been doing to occupy the long, boring days as they dragged by behind the walls of Elmira Prison. The end notes are just as interesting as each chapter was with the many quotes and references. I would like to thank Mr. Gray for this factual and non-biased look into my ancestors past experiences.

Death Camp of the North : The Elmira Civil War Prison Camp  
By Michael Horigan
     The Civil War prison camp at Elmira, New York, had the highest death rate of any prison camp in the North: almost 25 percent. Comparatively, the overall death rate of all Northern prison camps was just over 11 percent; in the South, the death rate was just over 15 percent. Clearly, something went wrong in Elmira. The culmination of ten years of research, this book traces the story of what happened. Author Michael Horigan also places the prison in the context of the greater Elmira community by describing the town in 1864 and explaining its significance as a military depot and draft rendezvous.

About the Author

Michael Horigan taught and lectured in American History for more than twenty years. Recognized locally as an expert on the Elmira Civil War prison camp, his views were included in a 1993 Public Television documentary on the subject entitled “Helmira: 1864-1865.” This is his first book.

The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide:  10 Weekend Tours and More Than 400 Sites, from Antietam to Zagonyi’s Charge
By Michael Weeks

With this guide, readers can enjoy and explore hundreds of sites integral to the battles, figures, and events of the Civil War.  Designed to help you get to those places that will provide an experience of the Civil War in a way no history book can, this book will bring the Civil War home to you in a personal, hands-on way that is sure to provide for a fulfilling, educational, and fun series of adventures.  Complete with directions and lodging suggestions, this guide enables reader to personally tailor their trips to every major Civil War campaign site.

About the Author
Michael Weeks is an amateur historian with a passion for the road.  He has driven tens of thousands of miles across America in order to see first-hand the amazing stories and experiences that U.S. history has to offer.